Other names: Kooiker
The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje is an enthusiastic, friendly, reliable and obedient dog. Boasting a red coloured, fluffy feathered coat, they’re well-known for their striking looks.
Originating from Holland, this breed was originally a working dog, commonly used to lure ducks into cages. However, thanks to its lovely, warm and playful nature, this dog has now become increasingly popular as a family and companion dog.
While the Kooiker (as they’re also known) certainly needs plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, they’re more than happy to chill out on the sofa and have a good cuddle afterwards.
Key facts about the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje
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Origins and history
This rare Dutch breed has been spotted in old family portraits which date back as far back as the 1500s. However, the breed was intensely developed in 1600s Holland, when it was popular as a working dog who lured ducks into cages.
However, the breed declined following the end of WWI, when more advanced guns meant shooting ducks was easier, and by 1939 only 25 Kooiker’s were known to exist. Thankfully, after a Dutch baroness took an interest in the breed, the breed gained some popularity and breeding momentum. They were eventually recognised as a breed in 1971.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 8 - Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs
Section 2 : Flushing Dogs
Physical characteristics of the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje
Female : Between 14 and 16 in
Male : Between 15 and 17 in
Female : Between 22 and 33 lb
Male : Between 22 and 33 lb
Red-orange with white.
Type of coat
Thick, straight or wavy and waterproof. Beautiful feathering on the legs, ears and tail.
There’s simply no denying that the Kooikerhondje is a gorgeous-looking dog. The reddish, soft and fluffy coat stands out a mile away. In fact, the feathered tail is exactly what lures ducks into cages.
In terms of the body, the Kooiker is small- to medium-sized, athletic dog with a fairly muscular appearance for its size. The neck is long while the head is perfectly proportioned, with a defined stop, large, almond eyes and floppy, feathered ears. In terms of appearance, the Kooiker is fairly comparable to Spaniel breeds.
Good to know
The Kooiker is famed for its feathered tail, which attracts ducks as it moves back and forth.
The Kooikerhondje is at its happiest when with its family, and makes a loyal, devoted companion. This breed is known to stick closely to its owner, constantly wanting to please and cuddle up close.
With plenty of energy and a warm, friendly personality, it comes as no surprise that the Kooiker makes the perfect playmate. This is a breed who loves to get involved - whether it’s a simple game of catch, a family game, or agility sports, they’re in!
As long as this breed is well-exercised, it’s calm and relaxed in the home.
Despite its naturally friendly and approachable nature, the Kooiker does have a pretty high prey drive. While socialisation can help, do be aware that they may be tempted to chase small animals and wildlife.
Fearful / wary of strangers
The Kooiker can be reserved in front of people they don’t know, but as soon as introductions are made, they will be friendly and affectionate.
The Kooiker is super affectionate, and also rather dependent on their owner.
Behaviour of the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje
Generally, the Kooiker doesn’t cope with time alone. This breed loves people, and they spend too long without them they will be unhappy and may be destructive.
The Kooiker’s bark is rarely a problem, but they will make a noise if bored or alarmed by an intruder.
Tendency to run away
Due to their high prey drive, the Kooikerhondje may be tempted to run off and chase animals. However, because they’re so obedient once trained, a strong recall should be all you need to avoid problems.
With higher than average intelligence and a love of company, destructiveness in the Kooiker is mostly down to sheer boredom or loneliness.
Greedy / Gluttony
The Kooiker is enthusiastic about most things, and that includes food! Treats will be a welcome reward to encourage good behaviour.
They don’t have the loudest of barks, but the Kooiker will probably alert you to unknown faces entering their territory. If you’re looking for a good watchdog, however, this probably isn’t the best choice.
The Kooiker could make a first dog for those who won’t need to leave them alone for too long, and who lead an active lifestyle (preferably with opportunities for the Kooiker to work). However, it’s important to remember they have a stubborn streak which could be challenging.
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Nederlandse Kooikerhondje in a flat
The Kooiker could cope in a flat or apartment, providing they get multiple short walks and a run around every day. Ideally, they’ll have a secure garden with space to run off the lead.
Need for exercise / Sporty
The Kooiker has high energy and needs exercise. This dog loves to walk, run, hike, and play sports, and will quickly become frustrated if it doesn’t have a chance to spend its energy. Ideally, the Kooiker will have two long walks per day or multiple shorter, rapid walks - at least 1-2 hours in total.
Travelling / easy to transport
The Kooiker is a fairly average-sized dog, which means there should be no problem travelling as long as they are well-socialised.
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and cats
The Kooiker’s hunting instinct isn’t favourable to living with cats.
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and dogs
The Kooiker can be prone to dog aggression and may react negatively to other dogs, especially whilst on the lead. Consistent socialisation can help to prevent this entirely.
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and children
The Kooiker is gentle, friendly and playful towards children within their family. However, it’s important to teach younger children how to act around dogs, as the Kooiker is on the small side and may react badly to rough handling.
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje and the elderly
This breed would be a good companion for a particularly active elderly person.
The Kooiker is hard to come by in the UK, but we’d estimate that this pooch would set you back between £600 for a Non KC Registered dogs, and £1,000 for a KC registered dog.
Looking after a dog of this size typically costs between £60 to £90 a month, including food, medical/insurance, and incidental expenses.
You may think the Kooiker’s lush coat needs lots of maintenance, but it’s actually pretty easy! Their beautiful coat naturally repels dirt, meaning they only need a bath a few times a year. Otherwise, a thorough brush once a week to get out loose hair and tangles should suffice. Remember to rinse them with fresh water after swimming in a chlorinated pool or the sea.
This breed sheds moderately all year round and heavily twice a year.
Nutrition of the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje
The Kooiker will do fine on any high-quality, complete and balanced dog food. If you’re a particularly active household, you may want to switch them to an active breed formula.
Health of the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje
The lifespan of a Nederlandse kooikerhondje is approximately 13 years.
Strong / robust
The Kooiker is a small and athletic rustic dog, who isl very robust and resilient with surprising strength.
This dog will tolerate heat for short periods but may tire out pretty quickly due to their thick, waterproof coat. Provide plenty of cold water and shade in warm and hot weather.
The Kooikerhondje’s thick, waterproof coat will keep them toasty in cold weather. However, this breed is by no means an outdoor dog - they should still be given shelter all year round.
Tendency to put on weight
This active dog should not get overweight as long as her needs have been met.